Thursday, June 28, 2012

This And That

Its been a long winter boys and girls, but after a couple of pre-season games, the CFL season starts tonight with the Riders taking on the Tiger-Cats in Hamilton. Are you ready? Of course you are. I may be guilty of buying into the hype, but I think this team is a lot better than what some of the “pundits” think and that this team can host a playoff game in 2012. I won’t sit here and try and tell you they are better than BC because they’re not, but I do think the Riders are better than both Calgary and Edmonton and can finish 2nd in the West with a record of 10-8 or 9-9.

If you listened to Wednesday’s Sportscage or if you’ve seen the picks on Pedersen’s blog, you will see that I have taken Hamilton tonight. The reason for doing so is I look at the Ti-Cats team and I see a team that I think is a little more experienced than the Riders –especially on offence and that the Riders need a game to gel and mold together. That and the fact that Hamilton just seems to be a horror-show for this team over the last few years. Hey, I hope I’m wrong and if the football happens to bounce the right way for the Riders, so be it, but I don’t see them winning this one.

Things to watch

1)The play of the DB’s. Barron Miles brings a different mentality to the Rider secondary as their coach. Chris McKenzie told me this week that Miles is telling them to be very aggressive and play some tight coverage. It will be interesting to see what type of coverage schemes the Riders have against what arguably is the best receiving group in the CFL with Andy Fantuz, Dave Stala and Chris Williams to go along with Sam Giguere. Remember that Corey Chamblin was the DB’s coach in Calgary when Brandon Browner virtually shut Andy down. The Riders don’t have a Browner like body back there, but can they find a way to stop him from getting a head of steam at the line of scrimmage. Speaking of McKenzie, did you know that he is the oldest Rider at 30. A few other Riders are 30 as well, but of that group McKenzie is the oldest.

2)Odell Willis. The talk time is done. Its time now for Willis to show us what he can do. Is he the guy that terrorized CFL quarterbacks for the first half of the season or is he the guy that was real quiet in the second half. Odell hasn’t gotten off to a good start with his time in Riderville thanks to his off-the-field problems. For his sake, we better see the good Willis because I don’t think the honeymoon is a long one when it comes to Rider fans.

3) Ben Heenan. He is starting maybe a little sooner than what the football club expected, but he has shown he is worthy of being the number one overall pick this year and its his time to show whether he can play effectively in a CFL game that matters or if he needs some more seasoning.

4)Darian Durant We all know his 2011 was nothing to write home about. Despite his tough season, the football team invested in Durant by giving him a contract extension because they believe he is the quarterback we saw in 2009 and 2010. Something didn’t seem right with Durant right from the start of last season. He seems a little more focussed. One game won’t make a season, but a strong performance from the Rider quarterback might silence some of his critics---some who actually believe Drew Willy should be given more of a consideration to play.

Remember that CKRM's coverage starts at 3 o'clock as Michael Ball and I will have "The Touchdown Club" followed by Rod and Carm from Ivor Wynne at 430 and kickoff at 530.

Other odds and ends

--I guess some media members must read this blog and pursued the little Southland Mall tidbit that I uncovered in last week's edition of "This and That" as indeed the mall will finally be filling up the old Walmart space with a Canadian Tire, a Sportchek and a Marks Work Wearhouse. I don't unearth news tidbits very often, but you're welcome to whoever grabbed it first and got it out there. By the way, its about time that space was finally filled because each time I go to the Southland, it seems as if fewer and fewer people are in it.

--For the first time ever, I was in a CFL fantasy football draft on Wednesday night. It is much, much tougher than an NFL draft because there are only eight teams to choose from. For what its worth, I had the 4th overall pick and took Anthony Calvillo. He went behind Lulay, Durant and Burris. I thought it would go Lulay, Burris and Calvillo thus paving the way for me to take number 4 at number 4. Nope!
--When was the last time the Stampeders opened on the road? Is it just me or do they open at home every year?
--I wasn't happy with the Oilers selection of Nail Yakupov because the guy seems to be too much of a free-spirit and the fact that Edmonton had enough talented young forwards. With that being the case, I wasn't enamoured with the selection of Ralph Krueger as head coach. Krueger was with Tom Renney who couldn't get the job done. I don't know if Brent Sutter would have been the right choice, but Krueger to me seems to be a disciple of Renney and I don't think that's good news.

--The New York Islanders apparently offered Columbus all of their draft picks to take the number 2 pick---Ryan Murray. The Jackets turned the deal down. Did the Islanders make this offer to the Oilers? If so, why would Steve Tambellini have turned it down when he would have been selecting 4th and likely taken Griffin Reinhart. The team could have really stocked their cupboard and made the Islanders look like a laughing stock even if Murray pans out to be a solid NHL'er.

OK tell me the truth, had you ever seen those clouds that hung over Regina Tuesday night after that storm blew through. I've lived in the good old #YQR for many years and I have never ever seen that before. I didn't quite know what to think about it.
TSN on CFL host Dave Randorf was on "The Sportscage" Wednesday. Randorf came on right after the Regina Red Sox report and said it was his goal to see the Red Sox play at Currie Field. I'm sure Bernie Eiswirth and Gary Brotzel would help him out in achieving that goal, but I hope Randorf has an arm because I think he would likely throw out the ceremonial first pitch.
While on the Cage, Randorf said the panel will see less of Jock Climie and more of Milt Stegall this year and that Doug Brown will also make several appearances. The CFL panel is getting a little too Winnipeg-esque for me. I hope they don't decide to dust off Chris Walby!
I'll admit it. I think it will take some time to get used to the Riders wearing white helmets. I don't understand the rationale behind it. The Eskimos have never changed their iconic helmet and either have teams like the Packers, Steelers and Cowboys. I don't think the move was necessary, but that's just my two cents.
The decision by Corey Chamblin to shut fans out of two days of practice appears to be going over well as several coaches have applauded his decision while a Leader-Post poll overwhelmingly said they supported the move. If the truth be known, Rider fans have been spoiled over the years by watching their favourite team do their thing on a day to day basis. Someone decided to take the privilege a little too far so Chamblin put a stop to it as he felt his team was put at a competitive disadvantage. He wants to win and he doesn't want his secrets to be put out there so he has taken this approach. I do feel sorry for the seniors that can no longer make Mosaic a part of their routine twice a week, but Chamblin has showed everyone that its going to be done his way whether you like it or not. For what its worth, I like it!
Who is in charge of the Raptors draft day activities?
If you haven't seen the last 10 minutes of the season finale of "Locker Talk" on Access, you simply must see it. That's all I am going to say.
Is "Rock of Ages" the movie as good as the musical that rolled through here. I think I will be attending said movie with Mrs. Scruffy this weekend.
The kids are out for summer holidays. How many parents are counting down the days to September already?
Th-Th-Th-That's all folks.


Anonymous said...

Mitch, Edmonton sported green helmets for a few years and switched them up with their yellows. C'mon!

MiniGarts said...

The Steelers have worn yellow helmets as part of their retros in the last year or two.

The white helmets for the Riders are just for the away uniform I take it?

Anonymous said...

I agree with you on the things to watch, but I'm putting Durant higher. I know you like the guy, but you have to admit that his play has declined going back as far as 2010 when the team had that losing skid at the end of the season. We go as he goes.


Anonymous said...

I think you're being a little hard on the Oilers. I'm an Oilers fan too and I have no problem with Yakupov or Krueger.

Anonymous said...

Now people will have no choice but to get the Rider News from the paid media, rather than from fans .... hmmmmmmmmmmmm

Anonymous said...

CFL fantasy drafts are tough after about the 3rd round. Lulay went 1st in my draft too followed by Ray, Burris, Durant, Calvillo, Cornish and Tate.

Anonymous said...

Chamblin has put his stamp on this team by shutting the fans out. I think the idea is a little harsh considering many of the fans that go are seniors, but these idiots on think they have an actual voice when they do more harm than good. I'm one of those that think those who chat on fanboards are just people with way too much time on their hands anyhow. They're a real joke.

Anonymous said...

Those clouds were cool!

Anonymous said...

Burris struggles against the Riders. They know Fantuz's tendencies. I say Riders win this one 26-22.

Why isn't anyone talking Congi? He is Hamilton's kicker this year isn't he?